I created Judah Marakev as an NPC for a D+D Red Box basic game I ran in tenth and eleventh grade. I really liked the story I came up with for him… he wielded two swords (Arkham and Mindmasker), had been a prisoner of the dragon highlord Darkside, and had returned to the realm (escaping prison) to assist good creatures and fight the good fight.
I didn’t create much beyond that, and the character has remained with me in a number of incarnations over the years. He ‘narrated’ the descriptive texts in various Mythweaver products, serving as my ‘in-game’ character for a long time.
A few years ago, I changed some of the names to make them… well… less copyright infringy, if you see what I mean. The first sword became Arkhymn (I just liked the sound of it) and the dragon became Darksihde (pronounced “Darkseed”). However, I still didn’t know a lot of things… why or how he got the swords… why or how he got caught and put in prison… why or how he escaped… why or how any of it was connected to anything.
This week, I started thinking about Judah, jotting a few notes about his backstory to see if I could fit any of it into Arvandoria anywhere. All of a sudden, one piece of the puzzle fell into place, tying together two big parts of the game world that I didn’t even know were connected. Then, suddenly, I saw his place in a novel I wrote a full first draft of last year but never completed. It was missing something, and suddenly I realized what it was- Judah!
In a matter of hours, everything that I’ve created for my game worlds and game systems over the last 20 years fell into sharp focus, all tied together by this one character and his adventures. Dozens of little loose ends all started tying together, and things I’d created when I was 16 suddenly showed me why they’ve been in a big red binder for the last 22 years. I suddenly see why Arkhymn and Mindmasker are the absolutely perfect names for the swords... and I know why Darksihde is the absolutely prefect name for the master villain... and I know why a hundred other little things are exactly the way they are.
It rather blew my mind. I’ve been feverishly jotting notes about him (while working on Resolute Supers stuff- hey, it’s summer!). I’ve got a chunk of stuff for a novel going, but I’ve also done some play testing with ‘young Judah’, posting to the splinteredrealm forum and also to the actual play index on rpg.net. Swing by to catch up with his adventures.